Succour for Kids with Heart Ailment Dispur Ties up with Hospital
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09 June 2010
Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters today that the government had reached an agreement with Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital in Mangalore to perform the surgery at a much cheaper rate.
He said the government would bear the entire expenses of surgery, to and fro journey (by air) of the affected children with their parents and their accommodation in Mangalore.
Sarma said Narayana Hrudayalaya was one of the world’s largest paediatric heart hospitals and had created a record in performing nearly 15,000 surgeries on patients from 25 foreign countries.
“A committee, headed by a senior faculty member of paediatric surgery department of Gauhati Medical College & Hospital (GMCH), Nirmal Bhattacharyya, has been constituted to identify the children with such defects. The committee will conduct screening and detection camps at GMCH from July 1 to 7 to identify the first batch of children, expected to leave for Mangalore on July 15. Such camps will be held every month at the hospital to send the affected children in batches,”Sarma said, adding the government has allocated Rs 3 crore in its annual budget (2010–11) for the project.
The government will also provide medicines, required after surgery, free of cost to the children.
The minister said the scheme would mainly cover children from middle–class and poor families.
He said after a month of surgery, a team of doctors from Narayana Hrudayalaya would come to the GMCH to examine the recovery position of the children.
Deepak Bhattacharyya, assistant professor of cardio–thoracic surgery department at the GMCH, said such children with holes in their hearts often visit his department.
He said even though the department performed surgery on a very few children having an atrial septal defect (hole in the heart), a major surgery has not been performed, mainly because of lack of experts in paediatric cardiology.
“Surgery to correct holes in hearts of children is very costly in private hospitals. The Assam government’s initiative will bring smiles to many parents who cannot afford the cost of surgery,”he said.
Sunil Dawka, a cardiac surgeon of GNRC Heart Institute, said the institute is conducting such surgery of children above five years though the number of cases is limited.
Prakritish Bora, a paediatrician, said the number of children with heart ailments was on the rise.
“Surgery is needed only when the holes are big. Manpower and other expertise to plug such holes are now available in cities like Delhi and Bangalore. But there are enough facilities in Guwahati too,”Bora said.
Atanu Borthakur, medical director of Hayat Hospital at Odalbakra here, said the hospital would set up a full–fledged heart centre from October this year.
Hence, there would be no need to send children with such problems to Bangalore from next year, he said, adding that the hospital would have the expertise to perform surgeries on infants.